Dennis Craddock, a University of Lynchburg graduate and legendary track and field coach at UVa and the University of North Carolina, died Tuesday evening. He was 73.
Craddock, who led the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs at UNC for 27 years until his retirement in 2012, is a Lynchburg Sports Hall of Famer. A Gretna native, Craddock was a 1965 graduate of Ferrum College, where he played football and was a captain and MVP of the track and field team. He then earned his bachelor’s degree from Lynchburg, where found success in throwing events, leading the Hornets to back-to-back Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s track and field titles in 1966 and 1967.
Craddock also coached at Gretna and Albemarle high schools after graduating from Lynchburg in '67. He was hired at Virginia in 1976 and led the UVa women to three national titles (two in cross country and one in indoor track and field) across 10 seasons.
Craddock led UNC to 37 ACC championships between track and field and cross country. His teams at UVa and UNC won 45 total ACC championships, more than any other coach in any sport in the history of the league.
Craddock was named National Coach of the Year in 1995 for men’s outdoor track and was named ACC Coach of the Year 31 times (26 times at UNC and five at UVa).
He was a member of the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association Hall of Fame since 2013. In his acceptance speech, Craddock said: “There are seven wonders of the world: to be able to see, to be able to hear, to be able to touch, to be able to taste, to be able to feel, to be able to laugh, and to be able to love…but I would add an eighth one: to be able to coach.”